Cortical Vision Impairments

Entries into each section on this wiki will be structured so that this basic information is available. We will include the TITLE of the application, with a link to the broad description and rating on iTunes. The ICON is simply a screen shot of what will show up on the device. WHO describes the student you have used this particular app with. WHERE indicates whether the app was used at home, school, or in therapy. HOW describes the manner in which you used it. This is also the place to elaborate on other ideas for application. WHY/WHY NOT provides the contributer an opportunity to indicate the value of the app, whether they would use it again, and rationale for the opinion. We invite anyone else who has used the app to comment on anything about it... different whos, hows and whys....

Glow Coloring
This app is great for students with CVI due to the high contrast it offers. The background is black and the drawing colors are extremely bright (they glow). A large variety of colors are available, making customization to the student's visual needs possible. I am using it with a young girl who has CVI in addition to severe motor limitations. She is using a VMAX with scanning and a yes/no light tech scanning system. We are using it for a large variety of activities, since the great feature of this app is that it provides a means of providing visual information in a manner that facilitates her ability to visually process the information she sees. We have used it while working with letters and word families, in addition to many other writing activities. Another activity she enjoys is using her VMAX device to communicate what she wants me or a family member to draw for her. She also enjoys touching the screen herself to make her own creations. This drawing activity is so wonderful for her because she can visually process her creation! She can also post her creation on facebook or email it.
Submitted by: Patty Ashby
Additional ideas from others:
This app is one of the few I have seen offering such a quality high contrast. It can be used for so many activities. It is also a great app to use with kids who do not have CVI, since it is so highly motivating. The app also offers the ability to import images that can be colored or traced.
Basic is free.
The Pro is $.99. The Pro offers the following additions:
- Integrated with
(which is a sharing site)
- Bug fixes
Baby Rattle Toy

The high visual contrast of this app works well for young children with moderate to severe CVI or low vison. The basic version is free, the full version is $1.99. Stickers appear when the child touches the screen but the best feature is the bright, yellow, high contrast sun moving on varying colored backgrounds. The sun bounces around the screen when it hits an edge but it gradually slows down. This is where I see the children start to focus on the sun and attempt to touch it. When they touch it, the sun bounces around rapidly and sprinkles stars, the background color changes, and kids cheer. This is a reward the kids like. You probably need the $1.99 version for all these features.
Submitted by: Gayle Wiens, PT
Additional ideas from others:
Great for young children with
moderate to severe CVI or low vision. I used it with children aged 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 yrs old with CVI and physical challenges during one to one therapy in the home. Generally I use it in a darkened setting (end of the hall all doors closed). They don't seem to tire quickly with this program. The interactive and random nature of the app holds their interest. Great for infants and toddlers with moderate to severe CVI. Pre-schoolers with better vision probably need an app with higher cognitive interaction.
Free version available for trial. You will want the $1.99 version if you will be using it much with a child with CVI or low vision.
I use the "make cookies" section
of this app with young children years old who have physical challenges. It can also be used for
children with mild CVI. The ingredients for the selected cookie surround the bowl. The child drags the item into the bowl and then it enlarges and the child has to to an action related to the use of the ingredient. For example, tap an egg to crack it and you see the white and yolk drop out or turn the screen sideways and see the drops of vanilla come out. This offers higher cognitive opportunties for a young child that is bored by doing the same action over and over.
Submitted by: Gayle Wiens, PT
Additional ideas from others:
Not for kids with severe CVI, possibly one with moderate CVI, definitely one with mild CVI. I pull this out when I sense the young child is a little bored with the straightforward cause and effect of some of the apps for young children. They have enjoyed doing the different actions, even if they needed a little help physically. I have used it with children with physical challenges, with or without mild CVI. The age range I have used it included 2 yearsold to almost 4 years old.
.99 cents
Often upgrades for
holiday cookies are free.
Musical Instruments
I have used this app with children with CVI (moderate to severe) ages 2-3. If you hold it in the portrait position, it will show one photo at a time of the instrument with the name of the instrument in large print below it. If the child touches the box with print, it says the name of the instrument. If the child touches elsewhere on the screen, it briefly plays music from the instrument (no animation). The child can scroll side to side to get another instrument. If you hold it in landscape position, it shows multiple instruments and you can select the one you want. This is too visually busy for little ones with CVI unless it is mild CVI.
Submitted by Gayle Wiens, PT
Additional ideas from others:
Great for young children with moderate to severe CVI but there is a problem with it scrolling too easily. There is no lock feature. This means that a child using a fist or several fingers to activate, may inadvertently also scroll thus giving the visual of a different instrument than the one playing. This interferes with the language learning part of the app. Kids like this app and it often shows me their visual and auditory preferences. For example, the child gazes much longer at the photos without a complex background or those with a red background or those with high contrast background. They might disllike the loud sounds and prefer the soft or prefer the more exciting sounds and not linger with the soft ones.
$1.99, there is also a free version. I think there are more instruments in the $1.99 version. Well worth the cost. I use this app a lot with young children with special needs.
Peekaboo Barn
This app is a simple cause and effect format. Though I would have preferred a barn photo over a line drawing, it is at least big and red and moves and makes an animal sound so the children know where to look. When the barn doors open (after child touches screen), an animal is present and makes it's sound and says the name. I have used the child English voice but you also have options of adult Spanish or adult English (no child Spanish). You can turn the voice off, play it in looped mode (it plays over and over) and turn the animal sounds on or off. and I have used this app with children aged 1-3 with mild-severe CVI and physical challenges. It is very popular with these age groups.
Submitted by Gayle Wiens, PT
Additional ideas from others:
Works well for children aged 1-3 with CVI, barn screen works well but inside barn drawings contrast is often not high enough and there are other distracting visual objects. Children still seem to enjoy it and I point to the animal inside the barn to help the child know where to look. This is one of the first apps I try when assessing a young child with
muliple challenges. It gives me a lot of information about their ability to understand how the app works and about their visual attention, ability to focus, and more.
There is a free version, I have the $1.99 version. Older children may get bored more quickly but it works well for children 1-2.
Art of Glow
This app facilitiates individuals who have cortical vision impairment to use their vision. The background is black. When the screen is touched a vibrant streak appears where the individual touched. As the screen continues to be touched/swiped, more streaks of color appear. The streak pulsates as quickly or as slowly as you set it. You can also record a design and save it to play later.
Patty Ashby MNS, CCC-SLP
Additional ideas from others:
I have found that children with CVI love this app and are very motivated to reach out and touch the screen. They are very focused on the vibrant colors and movements.
Free! Definitely worth it!!

Would be a great app to encourage children to write! (Set the size to very small)
This app is fun for all ages. When you open the app, it says "creating tops" and makes strange sounds. Just wait a minute and the first top will appear and stay. You can enlarge or shrink the lighted top with black background with pinch input, move them by moving your finger on the screen, swipe to spin it or tap to get a new top. In the settings (light white arrow in upper right) I choose "funky" for the sounds and used the brake to slow them way down because they speed up too fast when the kids start moving them. Other options include gravity, cosmic and brake to change the effects. I used it with two children; one just turning 3 years old and one just turning 5 years old. Both children have HI, CVI and are physically challenged. The funky sounds are
quite novel and both children liked it. They did swiping, moving fingers on screen and tapping to interact with the app.
Submitted by Gayle Wiens, PT
Additional ideas from others:
Everyone seems to like this app; both kids and adults. It would be
great in a darkened room with young kids with CVI and older kids that have CVI and physical impairments for recreational use. If the child has severe CVI, I'd use it it in
a darkened room.
$1.99 Worth it for the fun value alone but makes a good interactive lightbox for children with CVI. I got good attention spans due to the novel and engaging nature of the activity.
Sound Touch icon.jpg
Sound Touch has 6 categories you can choose from. Favorite categories of young children are musical instruments, animals and vehicles. It presents with a busy screen with 12 choices of line drawings of the options e.g. sheep, duck, horse, frog etc. but when the child selects one, it gives a nice full screen color photo (some have little background and others more) and makes it's sound. One thing I really like about this app is that if they touch the same menu choice again, they get a different photo of the same item. This helps with generalization. Each item has 3 different photos! All 3 choices of cows moo but one is black and white, one is brown and white, and one is a group of brown and white cows. Black and white categories are across the bottom, which can be a problem for kids who have difficulty reaching up. Still, it is great for building language and the photos are generally nice for children with CVI. I have used it with many children age 1-5 with multiple challenges, most with some degree of CVI. It is pretty popular.
Submitted by Gayle Wiens, PT
Additional ideas from others:
This is a good app for young children, including those with CVI. It has some frustrations, with the categories across the bottom, which interferes with the teaching of categories as the child accidentally changes categories while playing. A child playing independently would be more frustrated that a child working one on one with someone.
$4.99 There is a free version so you can try it first to see if it is worth it. I think I got it for $1.99 so you might watch to see if it goes on sale. I think it is worth $1.99, not sure about $4.99.
Tap N See Zoo icon.JPG
Tap N See Zoo by Little Bear Sees
This is a good beginner app for young children with CVI. I like that you are able to change many of the settings to customize it for a particular child. The settings are easy to understand and change, enough that it would be quick to change settings for each child you work with. This app floats a solid color animal onto a background color of your choosing. You can select color or random of animal, background color or random, sounds or random sounds, speed, and size.
I used it with a 3 year old and 21 month old children with mulitple challenges including severe physical disabilities. They do not always look at things, and had only occasional, short tracking. They really tried hard to follow/track the red monkey or bear. Both smiled at the sounds too. Both worked at it for a long time and tracking improved. I tried using random animals and found that the alligator was too small and one preferred the monkey over the bear.
Submitted by Gayle Wiens, PT
Ideas from others:
This one was a little more expensive, I think it was $4.99. I think it is well worth it if you are using it with someone beginning visual development. It was made specifically for children with CVI and it shows. I have all the controls I want to make it just right for the child. It doesn't have any distracting backgrounds like other apps often have.
$4.99, worth it for child working on beginning visual focus and tracking. It worked for a child 21 months and one 36 months. Both really liked it. A child with better visual skills might find it too simple but there are plenty of other apps for those children. Great to have a nice beginner app! Thanks to Little Bear Sees for this one!
Baby Finger icon.JPG
Baby Finger
This is a simple cause and effect app that allows the child to touch the screen anywhere and a random color/'shape will appear with a novel sound. I used this app for a child with severe motor challenges that just has trouble getting their hand on the screen or lifting it off. I would not use it too long, just to help them get used to moving their hand to the screen and also moving it off. Then I would move on to a large target app such as Peek a Boo Barn (reviewed above). I would not use it with a physically able child with severe cognitive challenges because it would teach banging behaviors that can be difficult to change, once started. It does have a mode with letters or numbers which could used for older children but it doesn't pair the number with that number of objects or letters with an object starting with the letter so I would select a different app for those purposes.
Submitted by Gayle Wiens, PT
Suggestions by others:
I think I have the free version. I would only use this app with young children with physical impairment such that it is very difficult for them to get their hand anywhere on the screen. It could be a good starter app for a young child with physical challenges who just got an iPad and needs to learn and practice getting their hand onto the screen and lifting it up to activate again.
Free version can be useful in limited situations.